Before They Fall Off the Cliff: The Ripple Effect of Schizophrenia

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Subjects: Family Studies, Law, Mental Health Issues, Psychology, Sociology

Grade Level: Coll-Adult
Producer: Filmakers Library
Closed Captioned:
Running Time: 60 mins
Country of Origin: United States
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2003
Available in French: No

This is a story of a family where paranoid schizophrenia took its heavy toll, but also gave it the courage to forgive and to enlighten others about mental illness. In 1994, Matthew McBride, the youngest son of a suburban St., Louis family was fighting a difficult battle with paranoid schizophrenia. Imaginary voices convinced him that if he killed his parents, he could prevent World War III. He stabbed his parents to death hours after release from a mental hospital. Matt's brother and sister were left to deal with not only the violent death of their beloved parents but the well being of their younger brother who was not responsible for his actions. Matt was placed in a maximum security wing of Fulton State Hospital under the care of psychologist Dr. Elaine Larson. He battled psychosis, depression, and suicidal impulses. Through it all, he knew he had the support of his siblings and his doctor. After seven years, he progressed to a medium security facility. Mark McBride, his brother, co-produced this film and has become an advocate for the mentally ill. The family tragedy tested the depths of their humanity. They rose to the challenge.

Awards: Nominated, Gordon Parks Award, 2003